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Monday, June 9, 2014

DCS WWII project collapses, lead developer exited

Eagle Dynamics announced this week it had terminated its partnership with RRG Studios' Ilya Shevchenko, and was assuming sole rights to the DCS WWII project in development.

Some RRG staff have been hired into Eagle Dynamic/DCS to continue their work, ED said.

This blog has frequently documented the warning signs that all was not well at DCS WWII:

We have listed them here just in case we are accused of 2020 hindsight. It became patently obvious the project was going nowhere when Shevchenko posted 'update' after 'update' of screenshots of MSWord files, mixed with only the occasional in-game shot from a game that was supposed to be in alpha state; told the world he had spent a month working on flight manuals (clearly the priority a lead developer should be focused on); refused to engage with his Kickstarter backers by discussing any work in progress with them (perhaps because this could have exposed him to legal concerns) and then went totally dark in April, issuing no further updates.

We raised early concerns given the track record of the devs. These were the people who gave us the self-confessed disaster that was IL2 Cliffs of Dover. Before that, was Project Galba, the Korean war sim that never saw light of day.

It beggared belief that a publishing house like ED/DCS would then agree to collaborate with this team, on a new sim - DCS WWII - and risk their brand value by doing so. They have now taken the consequences of that decision and cut their ties with RRG Studios, assumed control of the project again, and are trying to save their reputation.

The ED/DCS plan is to roll out their WWII warbirds now module style, as they do with all their DCS World releases, and finally some time in 2015 to release the Western Europe map for DCS World and a standalone DCS WWII game for those who have not been buying the modules.

If they do so, they will need to dramatically change their pricing policy. Currently DCS modules retail for about 50 USD each at full price. Buying the six aircraft planned for DCS WWII, and the new map, at that price would mean you are paying 400 USD for DCS WWII!

Compare this to Battle of Stalingrad, where 100 USD early access fee gets you the map, and every month or so the devs add a new aircraft, weapons and features as part of that fee.

Wait for the full game release.

If you buy a module like the DCS P-51, you get a nice aircraft simulation, but no game. You can set up dogfights against the in game AI FW190, but that is it. When the new WWII warbirds are added you will have a few more opponents to go up against.

But flying WWII warbirds over a modern Europe battlefield, quickly feels stupid.

You might as well get the same aircraft in MS FSX, with A2A Accusim, where at least you can adjust the scenery to feel a little more 1940s France and Germany.

Releasing the DCS WWII aircraft as modules, before you have a map to fly them over, is a dumb way to sell an alpha

What ED is planning to do, by releasing the aircraft as modules, is the equivalent of giving players early alpha access to the game. Or, are they just cashing in on the DCS WWII assets, selling them off, before they walk away from the title altogether? I hope not. I hope they are just trying generate a cash flow by releasing the aircraft individually, and then finally the Western Europe theatre and stand alone product.

Compare this to Battle of Stalingrad, which released the map and a couple of aircraft first, and then went about adding more aircraft. BoS has generated thousands of buyers this way - I confidently predict ED will be much less successful by doing it the other way around because ED is not giving the player a GAME in which to fly their new aircraft!

ED you have your development priorities all wrong!

I know a sim project is not a linear thing, it has multiple tracks, but focus is the key of any large project.

ED should focus on getting the Normandy map completed, and some sort of game mechanics (eg a quick mission builder, online servers etc) in place using the P51D and FW190D.

Once that is done, sell alpha access and start generating cash flow.

THEN start releasing the other aircraft as modules.

Going the traditional ED/DCS World 'module' route, releasing WWII warbirds into a modern battlefield and expecting to generate sales, is an idea doomed to fail.


  1. If your going to flu COD then be sure to get Team Fusion patches for the sim. It will greatly improve it.

  2. As one of the Backpackers I feel angry.. o.k. losses are not so bitter. I have shiftet to BoS and take part in the new Battle over Moscow. DCS has for me lost it´s reputation.

    I have DCS only in use, because here is an flyable Mil Mi 8 on hand.